I met Qing on a lazy Wednesday afternoon for a coffee&cake fix at Moka Bros at we talked about Italian cuisine, Paris and Venice, models and photographers, but above all we talked about Qing’s passion for vintage dresses, and how it led to opening a small showroom in her living room. It makes perfect sense that the name of this showroom is Q apartment.
But she wouldn’t call it a shop – rather a studio, a multifunctional place where she can host little parties (feat. Italian food & wine), organize fashion shows and have friends over for coffee.
For bigger events, she would use the space of cafes in her arty neighbourhood and move all her pieces there.
Right now, most of her customers are wealthy Chinese people who have an international background and who know her in person. ‘It’s not easy – she told me – if you don’t have a proper shop’. This is why she is looking into renting a little space at Nali’s Patio, only 15 or 20 smq, to try and reach to a wider audience of Chinese and foreigners.
Born and raised in China, she studied International Trade in college, worked as a stylist for fashion shooting, and then became a producer and art director herself. She used to take care of photo shootings for catalogues of fashion brands. But that was very tiring and stressing – this is one of the reasons why she shut down that activity (keeping all her precious contacts of hairdressers, make up artists, photographers and models!) and now she is into vintage clothing market.
She started being fascinated by vintage clothing in Italy, while strolling around in cozy vintage boutiques. Now, she goes back to the same boutiques regularly and buys the pieces that she want to sell back in China. Only her experience on the field taught her how to recognise a good investment – ‘quality is all in the details’ she assures ‘you have to look at stitching, embroidery, labelling’.
In her little showroom, she stocks handpicked pieces dating back from the Fifities to the Nineties. And she strongly believes that Fashion-with-capital-F was at its best back then. ‘Even today – she told me with a glimpse of excitement in her eyes – designers look back at vintage pieces to find inspiration’.
‘Also another aspect of Fashion is lost today: the uniqueness. In the Fifties most of the pieces were hand-made, it was not a standardised process, it was a piece of art. Today, with mass production and thousands of factories, there is less poetry in owning a designer dress’ she believes.
‘And as a result, also quality has worsened, unless you can afford to buy a haute-couture piece’. But this is definitely not affordable for most of the world population, I think with huge disappointment.
What Qing is offering is a full range of vintage hand-picked accessories, shoes, bags, clutches, bijoux, dresses from 2000 CNY to 6000 CNY. A fair price if you really want to own a piece of Fashion history.
When I went to visit Q Apartment I was impressed by the beauty of some of these pieces – and it’s true what Qing says: they are so contemporary, so actual, up-to-date. And the excitement of holding in your hands such a meaningful piece of the history of fashion struck me. And I felt in heaven.
Sono andata a visitare Q Apartment, boutique vintage gestita da Qing, ex fashion stylist e art director. La passione per il suo lavoro mi ha colpito ed ispirato. Qing una volta l’anno trascorre due mesi in Francia e in Italia e partecipa a vendite private ed aste per accaparrarsi i pezzi migliori dagli anni Cinquanta fino ai Novanta. Solo grazie all’esperienza accumulata in anni e anni di lavoro a stretto contatto con i fashion brands, Qing e’ in grado di riconoscere un abito di qualita’. E solo i pezzi migliori finiscono nel suo atelier a Pechino, dove non e’ raro che vi vengano offerti anche un buon caffe’ e una fetta di torta!
For the chat at Moka Bros with Qing I was delighted to wear:
Silk black shirt: Uniqlo
Feel love ring: Carmen Chan
When I went to have a look at Q Apartment I was delighted to wear:
Purple dress: Cos
Pearl earrings: Angela Caputi
Pearl necklaces: vintage
Green Gem’s Necklace: designed and realized by me and my husband
Nail color: Chanel Le Vernis 445 lotus rouge
For all the other pictures, special thanks to Q Apartment.[map id=”65″]